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How To Study a Tone Language

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Title: How To Study a Tone Language
Authors: Hyman, Larry
Issue Date: Dec 2014
Publisher: University of Hawai'i Press
Citation: Hyman, Larry M.  2014. How To Study a Tone Language, with exemplification from Oku (Grassfields Bantu, Cameroon). Language Documentation & Conservation 8: 525—562
Abstract: In response to requests I have often got as to how one approaches a tone language, I present a personal view of the three stages involved, starting from scratch and arriving at an analysis: Stage I: Determining the tonal contrasts and their approximate phonetic allotones. Stage II: Discovering any tonal alternations (“morphotonemics”). Stage III: establishing the tonal analysis itself. While most emphasis in the literature concerns this last stage, I show how the analysis crucially depends on the first two. A detailed illustration is presented from Oku, a Grassfields Bantu language spoken in Cameroon on which I personally worked in the field. The paper concludes with discussion of issues arising in other tone languages, illustrated by Corejuage (Tukanoan, Colombia), Peñoles Mixtec (Otomanguean, Mexico), Villa Alta Yatzachi Zapotec (Otomanguean, Mexico), Luganda (Bantu, Uganda), Hakha Lai (Tibeto-Burman, Myanmar and Northeast India), and Haya (Bantu, Tanzania). *This paper is in the series How to Study a Tone Language, edited by Steven Bird and Larry Hyman
Sponsor: National Foreign Language Resource Center
ISBN: 978-0-9856211-2-4
Rights: Creative Commons Attribution Non-Commercial Share Alike License
Appears in Collections:Volume 08 : Language Documentation & Conservation

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